Simulating learning networks in a higher education blogosphere - at scale

Wild, Fridolin and Sigurdarson, Steinn (2011). Simulating learning networks in a higher education blogosphere - at scale. In: Sixth European Conference on Technology Enhanced Learning (EC-TEL 2011), 20-23 Sep 2011, Palermo, Italy, pp. 412–423.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-23985-4_32

Abstract

Blogging has become mainstream, even in Higher Education. How to successfully build and sustain dispersed cross-institutional learning networks, however, still remains a conundrum. Validation trials evaluating learning technology and practice lack possibilities to investigate this at scale with hundreds of individuals over yearlong periods of time. With this contribution, we therefore propose a model for simulating a Higher Education blogosphere in order to circumvent this cost and resources problem. The model is informed by actual, but smaller-scale trials conducted within the EC-funded iCamp project. This computational model is used to investigate the potential impact of a new educational intervention model and new blog network management facilities developed with the aim of facilitating social networking, self-direction, and collaboration among learners. The simulations conducted predict increased density and reciprocity of an open Higher Education blogosphere, when fitted with improved technology and when a subset of individuals is scaffolded along formal courses to form weak ties.

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